Dissertation Literature Review

Dissertation Literature Review comes after its introduction. In this chapter, you have to prove yourself as a good reader of the chosen topic and showcase the fact that you have a good grasp over the entire subject. As a writer, you need to present an analytical overview of the significant literature about your topic. The main purpose of this part is to demonstrate your expertise and familiarity with the topic.

What is dissertation literature review?

A literature review is a part which defines and limits the research topic which you are working upon. Its main purpose is to present your investigation with a historical perspective by avoiding unnecessary duplication. Further, this part comprises of evaluation of promising methods of investigation through which the writer can relate the findings with previous research.

The importance of writer’s dissertation review

After introducing the topic to the readers, the writer elaborates the topic in the literature review chapter. However, you must keep in mind that the review doesn’t contain a mere description of what has been already written or published by others.

Dissertation literature review is an important chapter as it presents a critical discussion which further showcases your knowledge and awareness of various differing arguments and theories. Therefore, it must be a detailed analysis of relevant published work which should further include every intricate detail about the topic.

How to write a dissertation literature review?

Since the literature review chapter comprises of a lot of details about the topic, it must be presented in a well-structured format. It is important to frame your ideas in a logical manner with all relevant details. While writing this chapter you must ensure that the references and sources are current and appropriate. Further, it is necessary to draft various terminologies and views about the topic in a comprehensive way.

Following are the content which must be included in the literature review section:

  • An overview of the topic, research question or theory must be provided
  • The topic must be divided into various categories and concepts
  • You must relate your investigation with the previous findings, works and ideas
  • Provide appropriate and precise conclusions about the works which contribute to the understanding and development of your topic and its investigation

However, while drafting your dissertation literature review, you must keep in mind the following aspects.

  • You must include information and findings of qualified and experienced authors only. Therefore, you must go through the author’s credentials in details before including their citations
  • You must ensure that the author’s perspective is biased
  • You must make sure that the author’s thesis is convincing
  • You must ensure that the conclusion made by the chosen author add value to your own findings and investigation

Dissertation literature review is one of the most crucial chapters and therefore must be drafted by keeping in mind the above-mentioned aspects.

Students who lack appropriate writing skills may look out for literature review writing services and get professional help for drafting the best dissertations.


Chapter 2

Literature review

2.0 Introduction

The present chapter investigates different previous literature with regards to recognising the impact brand design creates on customers’ purchasing behaviours in the UK market. To authenticate the present context, a range of studies and researches of the previous authors have been evaluated. In the existing chapter, effacing details regarding t impact brand design creates on customers’ purchasing behaviours in the UK market would be determined. With the assistance of the critical evaluation method, frequent initiatives have been followed to identify how far the UK customers’ purchasing habits are influenced by the designs chosen by the brands. The researcher in the existing chapter would determine the research subject with indifferent opinions of several scholars. The critical analysis approach would support the researcher to identify the gaps related to the present subject analysis, based on which strategic alternatives would be recommended. Thus, relative initiatives have been taken to compare and contrast the indifferent opinions of the authors made over the present topic. Moreover, in the present chapter an argumentative approach has been followed to understand the initiatives taken by M&S towards its brands design to improve customers’ reactions. Further, the evaluation would be done with the help of suitable frameworks. With the support of previously mentioned approach, several theoretical platforms would be created depending on which several research activities would be performed.

2.1 Significance of brand design process in current competitive scenario

In the circumstance of the similar statement, Ahmad and Thyagaraj (2015) mentioned that branding often helps an organisation to differentiate its products in the market from its competitors. Effective branding uplifts the product lines of any organisation from being just one commodity amongst several identical commodities, to derive a unique value in the market (Alkilani et al. 2013). It has been identified that a brand design often tends to create an emotional resonance over the consumers who selects the products and services using both emotional and pragmatic judgements.

Against the previous content, Chao et al. (2015) asserted that customers purchasing decisions often get influenced by product quality besides brand designs. For example, different retails giants like Tesco, ASDA, etc. had experienced high customer switchover rate due to its degraded product and service quality. In the background of the previous context, Choi and Ahluwalia (2013) determined that customer’s judge the product quality offered by the organisations which has a strong brand presence in the market. Therefore, it is very important for the retail brands in the UK market to form a strong brand design to create an indifferent identity in the market.

Juntunen et al. (2011) mentioned that retail industry occupies a vital part of the UK economy. However for the UK customers, shopping has become a foremost leisure activity. Fashion has been identified as one of the primary component for retail industry in the present scenario. According to Ju-Pak (2013), the brands operating in the UK retail industry had to adjust to the frequently changing needs and buying habits of the customers. The evolving fashion trends have enforced different challenges towards the fashion brands.

Brand loyalty signifies to customer preferences towards the product of a particular brand. In the similar context, Lee et al. (2011) mentioned that customers believe that the popular brands offer the feasible features, images and standard quality at the right price. It has been inferred that the belief and faith of customers are leading to become a base for new purchasing habits. It has been assessed that majority of the fashion brands focus on its marketing strategies to catch the attention of a particular customer base that expects a differentiated strategy from the chosen brands. Luk et al. (2013) mentioned that in simple words brand design could be termed as the policies followed by an organisation to attract the target customers through diverse means of marketing techniques like advertisements and logos. With the support of the brand designs, the organisations intend to maintain a stronger relationship with the customers for a longer period.

In the context of the similar statement, Mulyanegara (2011) determined that presently the social media platforms are widely used to enrich the brand present in the UK market. The fashion brads like M&S, Zara, etc. are targeting the younger generation in the UK market. Therefore, the brands are designs are per the preferred trends and styles of the younger generation. Therefore, the social networking sites are presently embraced by the UK fashion retailers to wide cater its product and brand implications on the target segment.  On the other hand, MarTech (2017) asserted that there is high probability of negative word of mouth communication on the social networking platforms. This can substantially ruin the image of a brand. However,  Ju-Pak (2013) mentioned that the target segments consider the social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc to be the useful source of information, therefore, the brands are taking risks of creating a separated brand page in the specific platforms to increase its brand reach and influence the customers’ purchasing decisions.

2.2 Factors affecting customer purchasing behaviour

The factors affecting customers purchasing behaviours are as follow:

Marketing campaigns

Advertisement plays a considerable role in influencing the purchasing behaviours of the consumers in the UK market. In the frame work of the present statement, Olsen and Lanseng (2012) claimed that advertisements are determined to bring greater shifts in the market shares of the brands that manage to attract greater customers base towards its products. In the divergence of the previous statement, Rappaport (2008) asserted that the advertisement is an influencing factor that interests the customers regarding the products. However, the final decision depends on the quality of the chosen products. According to Richard and Bagozzi (2011), the Marketing campaigns are conducted on a regular basis often tends to influence not only consumers’ purchasing decisions but also loyalty for a longer duration. As per the statement of Richard et al. (2010), advertising campaigns if undertaken at persistent intervals always influence the customers to recall the brand when though of any related products.

Economic conditions

Customers’ spending behaviours are majorly affected by the economic situation prevailing in the UK market (Roy and Banerjee, 2007).  It has been identified that a positive economic condition often intends to make target audience more confident and excited to indulge in product purchases despite the personal financial liabilities. Diverging the latter context, Schneider et al. (2013) argued that the UK customers have become exclusively typical regarding product purchase, hence, despite improved economic situations, the customers initially researches to understand the values that can be derived from the products and based on which the purchasing decisions are made. Additionally, Shashikala and Suresh (2013) stated that today’s customers set a list of preferences, depending on which products are purchased.

Personal choices

In the circumstance of the present statement, Vazifehdoost (2014) asserted that at a personal level, customers’ purchasing behaviours in the UK market are influenced by several shades of likes, dislikes, value, moral and priorities.  In some of the sectors like fast food, FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) and fashion and apparels, the personal choices of the segments are about style and trends (Mulyanegara, 2011). Thus, it has been assessed that in the apparel industry the trend, style and fun are the prevailing factors that influence customers’ purchasing behaviours in the UK market.

Group influence

Chao et al. (2015) suggested that group influence considerable influences the decision making behaviours of the customers in the UK market. In the specific context, Lee et al. (2011) advised that UK population are highly influenced by word of mouth actions. Therefore, group influence is relatively greater in the UK market than the other regions. Therefore, the UK customers get influenced by the chief groups like classmates, friends, family members, relative and neighbours.  Progressing with the previous content, Luk et al. (2013) determined that the specific purchasing attitude of the UK customers turn in support of the older brands that had already created brand loyalty over the older generations.

Purchasing power

The consumers determine the individual purchasing capacity before forming any purchasing decision. Shashikala and Suresh (2013) discussed that products lines of a might be excellent, but in case it fail to mitigate the customers’ purchasing ability; it might hold back the sales growth of the brand. It has been understood that customers’ purchasing behaviours are directly affected by individual earnings (Roy and Banerjee, 2007).  Hence it has been observed that despite having a fascination towards the premium brands, certain customers stick back to the local brands due to insufficient purchasing power. Therefore, it is explicitly important for the retail enterprises in the UK market to segment its product lines as per the affordability of the target market.

2.3 Impact brand design creates on customer purchasing behaviour at M&S

The impact of M&S’ brand design is discussed below:

Branding through individual online platform

In 2013, M&S introduced its individual online flagship, M&S.com to brand its products lines before greater target audience. In the frame work of the present statement, Luk et al. (2013) mentioned that before launching the flagship, M&S used to display its products in Amazon’s portals. However, to create a flexible and powerful platform, the management of the b rand has planned to create individual flagship to accomplish continuous improvement by getting the support of right skills and innovation (Richard and Bagozzi, 2011). It has been observed that due to convenience and flexibility, the online sales of the brand has risen by 23% (corporate.marksandspencer.com, 2017). In the similar context, Vazifehdoost (2014) stated that customers seem to have enjoyed the shopping from mobiles, laptops and tablets, which encouraged the brand to increase its sales on a random basis. On the other hand, Chao et al. (2015) examined the negative perspectives of the online flagship, where various customers have complained about receiving products of degraded quality and over sized. The discrepancy of M&S is providing an indirect opportunity to its rivals to remould its potential customers and convert straight away.

Click and collect-in-store

In 2015, M&S planned to incorporate the click and collect-in-store strategy, where the customers can already select a product online and collect it from physical outlets after verifying the size and quality (Econsultancy, 2017). It has been identified that a survey conducted by Econsultancy reflects that 63% of customers in that particular year had bought a product online and collected in-store. In the context of the present statement, Vazifehdoost (2014) mentioned that reserve-and-collect services have become essentially important for e-commerce as well physical retailers as consumers increasingly expect to be able to pick up the purchases just after selection. The similar survey further details that the ratio for click and collect-in-store preference is greater amongst the US customers than that of UK, but the retailers are imposing various innovation to evolve the strategy further (Econsultancy, 2017). The survey result also claims that in 2013, 40% of UK customers have adopted the collect-in-store options. However, the ratio has increased by 20% in the next year (Econsultancy, 2017). Therefore, the specific policy has also helped the UK customers to select the product from M&S.com and verify the products from the physical outlets.Browse and order hubs in store

M&S allows its users to browse the catalogue or scan barcodes and explore product based information (Econsultancy, 2017). Customers are permitted with the authority of choosing the order on the device and collect at a later date or have the product delivered. As per the statement of Luk et al. (2013), the specific strategy is taken to familiarise the offline customers with the M&S online catalogue, which is considered to be a smart move as M&S has 6 million customers that have never used its website before. Thus, it has been inferred that the customers have found the process interesting enough to visit even its online platform and to purchase selected products through collect-in-store policy. Thus, Vazifehdoost (2014) examined that M&S’ branding strategies are all interlined, which even promotes the other strategies.

2.4 Issues faced by M&S regarding customer purchasing behaviour

Website shutdown

Marks & Spencer’s customers had preferred purchasing apparels from other online portals since after logging into the personal online accounts the customers had to find other users’ personal details (Mail Online, 2017). The London-based retailer, which has more than 1,300 stores globally had been bound to temporarily suspended its website while the ‘technical issue’ was investigated. However, the management had strongly of been hacked. Ahmad and Thyagaraj (2015) mentioned that M&S’ customers found it unsafe to continue purchasing products through its online portals. The customers claimed to find the details and confidential information like name, banking details, address, etc. of other customers while logging into individual accounts. It has been observed that M&S’ technical issue had affected 800 customers and claimed of imposing quick measures to resolve the problem (Wood and Farrell, 2017). In the circumstance of the similar statement, Vazifehdoost (2014) denoted that the management of the brand had provided written confirmation to every affected customer and ensured of having the financial details safe. In the similar statement, Ahmad and Thyagaraj (2015) mentioned that the customers claimed that the management has ensured of the account being safe after the being affected. Therefore, the customers are not considerably convinced by the apology of the management.  M&S customers posted messages on the high street chain’s Facebook page to alert it to the data breach (Llopis, 2014).

Decline in clothing sales

It has been identified that Marks & Spencer has suffered its relative fall in clothing sales since the year 2008 (Wood and Farrell, 2017). The brand has experienced a decline by 8.9% in the clothing and home product sales in the last Christmas. In the circumstance of the similar statement, Ahmad and Thyagaraj (2015) claimed that M&S’s clothing prices ranges have been excessive high and promotional with the shoppers prompt to wait for special offers before purchasing. It has been identified that last year more than 40% of its apparels were sold on promotion. However, the customers complained that the brand had focused more on a promotion that the product quality (Lieu, 2011). Therefore, the majority of its products were sold of degraded quality, which enforces the customers to purchase relative products of the same price from different brands. In the similar instance, Ahmad and Thyagaraj (2015) determined that M&S’ revenue figures were compounded by embarrassment when M&S had been forced to issue a second stock exchange announcement of getting some of its sales figures wrong. Rather than increasing the figure by 1.3%, group sales were decreased by 0.4% (Wood and Farrell, 2017). It has been determined that the sales number, which has been adjusted for currency fluctuations, also went wrong.

Challenges in the clothing section

As per the statement of Olsen and Lanseng (2012), Marks and Spencer have become the brand of contrasts. The food and drink division of the brand has been performing resolutely while its fashions segment is facing relative problems. The customers have claimed to trust the food section of the brand but not the fashion division (Luk et al. 2013). The customers also provided feedbacks of less availability f products in the fashion segment. It has been identified that the supermarket section of M&S is comprised of +48 stocks as compared to +41 for fashion segment. Inference can be drawn from the previous content that the product department of fashion units somehow failed to understand the recent trends. Against the latter statement, Olsen and Lanseng (2012) claimed that that the customers are relatively satisfied with the trends of the apparels. However, the brand has failed to maintain the quality of the products. Since greater complaints were registered against its degraded product quality.

2.5 Recommendations to improve brand design for M&S

Improving fashion section

In the framework of the present statement, Ahmad and Thyagaraj (2015) stated that it is very important for the management of the brand to improve the fashion segment. As discussed before, the fashion segment of the brand is falling with the passing phase of time. However, the growth in the food division is increasing comparatively. Therefore, it is very important of M&S to improve the purchase and the control unit. Vazifehdoost (2014) determined that various past researcher has examined that the raw materials and the final products are not examined effectively and realised in the market. Therefore, the majority of the complaints were registered against the degraded quality of the apparels (Lieu, 2011). Therefore, the control units required checking on the finished goods before releasing in the market. This can help the brand to increase the customers experienced and thereby, increasing the retention ratio.

Product availability

Ahmad and Thyagaraj (2015) asserted that he products availability had been another issue, which the customers of M&S faced in the UK market. It has been identified that the customers initially received a wrong product when ordered from the online portals. Even when the customers preferred altering the defective products with a better version, there lies issue with the product availability (Wood and Farrell, 2017). Thus, the customers seem to switch into other brands offering better service at the similar range. Hence, besides improving product quality, M&S also require increasing its stock in the fashion segment to create a positive customer experience in the UK market.

Advanced technology

The customers also gained a negative impression of the brand due to a technical issue on the website, where the customers were able to watch the personal account details of the other customers (Luk et al. 2013). Therefore, it is very important for the brand to imply an advanced ERP (Enterprise resource planning) system to resolve the technical issues and ensure a safety system to the customers (Wood and Farrell, 2017). Moreover, the brand also requires improving the communication medium, which signifies that M&S’ CRM (Customer Relationship Management) unit needs to be trained. Since, the customers claimed to receive communication regarding he technical issues after a longer period of registering complaints (Fiorella, 2012). This reflects the laidback attitude of its CRM unit. Thus, even after receiving confirmation of safety, the brand failed to reduce its customer switchover rate due to late response. Ahmad and Thyagaraj (2015) mentioned that the customers had not found safe to maintain an online account with the brand, which fails response to the customers’ queries even during a severe issue.

2.6 Conceptual framework

The marketing campaign, economic conditions, personal choices, group influence and purchasing power are the independents variable. The above factors create a brand influence on the customers based on which the purchasing decisions are made. Therefore, customers preferences and purchasing behaviour are the dependent variables.

2.7 Summary

The chapter discusses the significance of the brand design in the UK retail market to convince the customers to maintain brand loyalty. It has been identified in the chapter that effective branding uplifts the product lines of any organisation from being just one commodity amongst several identical commodities, to derive a unique value in the market. The further chapter claims that design often tends to create an emotional resonance over the consumers who selects the products and services using both emotional and pragmatic judgements. Latter, effective factors have been explored that encouraged the UK retails brands to convince the customers through effective branding policies. Moreover, the impact of M&S’ brand design on its customer purchasing design has been figure out herein. Additionally, in the latter half of the chapter, the issues M&S has faced related to customers’ purchasing behaviour has been figured out effectively. On the basis of the identified shortcoming, strategic initiatives have been recommended to improve the brand design and customer experience. The dependent and independent factor have been identified and discussed in the form of the conceptual framework in the current chapter.

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